After giving it some thought, I came up with a solution! What I needed was something that would fit in a very narrow area, due to the bracing in the back of the stand. However, I had more space on both sides of the brace, which would add up to more gallons of water if utilized. I gave this a lot of thought, trying to come up with a way to install the sump within the stand without having to take down the tank in the process. After a few weeks, I finally realized the perfect solution.
Early in 2003, I bought a virtually new MH setup from a member of ReefCentral.com. The only thing I was lacking were the quick disconnect cords that run from the mogul sockets to the ballast, but another person pointed me to PremiumAquatics.com. $18 later, I was finally in a position to fire them up! This is a PFO Dual 175w system, which I feel is plenty for a 55 gallon tank. The aquarium is narrow, and not very deep. Using Ushio 10,000K mogul-based MH bulbs, the tank still needed actinic supplementation.
The plumbing of all this together is truly a jigsaw puzzle of pieces. I'll try to help you out. Basically, I stood in the plumbing aisle almost 2 hours figuring out what fit into what, and laid them out like a skeleton in my shopping cart so I'd not have to make a return trip.
The 29g needed a nice looking canopy. It replaced the standard plastic light fixture the aquarium used previously, and had to house the power compact bulbs. Since I was building it myself, and the lights were also a DIY project, I designed it so the canopy would flip open completely to provide easier access to the tank and not be blinded by lighting.